Take control of your retirement

It’s up to you as a Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) member to take control of your retirement. As with any kind of career change, there may be bumps along the way but a little planning will go a long way to make your transition to civilian life as smooth as possible. Here are some things you can do to make the process a little easier:

  • Get an estimate of your pension benefits so you can find out your post-release income
  • Ask for your release package 60 days prior to release so you can plan well in advance; and
  • Get financial advice to help you make better decisions.

First

Find out what your pension benefit will be. Your retirement date might make the difference between a reduced and unreduced pension – make it your business to be sure before you go. At least six months before you release, get an estimate of your pension benefit through the self-service web portal or by contacting the Government of Canada Pension Center.

  • Tip: You might also want to try the online Canadian Retirement Income calculator. This calculator allows you to figure out what you will receive and what you will need to live comfortably in retirement.

Second

Ask for your release package before your release date by using the self-service web portal. The sooner you complete the forms and return them to the Pension Centre, the better! If you are getting a pension, you may want to join the Public Service Health Care Plan and/or the Pensioners' Dental Services Plan. The application forms are included in your release package.

  • Tip:  If you apply within 60 days of entitlement to your pension, medical and dental benefits will be backdated to the day after release, allowing you to claim any expenses that were paid out-of-pocket. If the application forms are not returned within 60 days, there will be a waiting period.

Third

Get financial advice. Don’t forget! While you are in the CAF, you pay contributions into the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) as well as the CAF pension. The CAF pension includes a temporary benefit (called the Bridge Benefit) payable until age 65, unless you start to receive the CPP disability benefit.  If you are not disabled and choose to take CPP retirement benefit early, the Bridge Benefit is still payable until age 65.  Taking the CPP retirement benefit earlier than age 65 is a choice you will have to make.

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